Law enforcement sources told the New York Post on April 19 that Judge Ellen Edwards rejected prosecutors’ calls for 18-year-old Ismail Abraham to post bail after being caught on video carrying a loaded, stolen revolver.
Prosecutors at his arraignment Wednesday wanted Abraham, who has multiple prior arrests on his record, to post a $25,000 bond.
Edwards rejected the request of the prosecution, according to The Post, and instead asked the suspect to write a “report on gun violence in the community.”
The judge, who with her decision sparked controversy on social media, also imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on Abraham, who law enforcement sources told The Post is a known member of the “G Stone Crips” gang.
— New York Post (@nypost) April 19, 2019
‘Out of Touch’
Police took Abraham into custody on April 16 after he was reportedly seen discarding a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver loaded with five bullets.
The Post cited court papers as stating that Abraham was captured on surveillance cameras as he tossed the gun and ran down an alley outside a residence on Newport Street in New York City.
Citing law enforcement sources, The Post reports Abraham’s four sealed prior arrests include charges of gun possession.
“It just goes to show you how out of touch these judges are,” a retired NYPD detective told The Post, referring to the apparently lenient treatment of the suspect.
Court spokesman Lucian Chalfen told The Post that Edwards’s decision was “well within her discretion.”
Edwards was elected as a civil court judge in 2017 under the slogan “Bringing Reform to our Courts.”
On her campaign page on Facebook, she wrote: “As your Judge, I will continue to be a voice for justice, fairness, and equality under the law. All who enter my courtroom will be treated with professionalism and respect.”
“Good luck getting any homework from a gang member,” wrote Elizabeth Hanson on Facebook.
“Essay should have been on littering as he threw the gun in bushes instead of firing it,” joked Francesca Devlin.
“Wow why not let make him write 500 times dont do crime,” wrote Mark Roberts.
Keith Lawrence (@NeufKeithNove) suggested a stricter posture, writing, “Want to get guns off the street make a 10 year mandatory for illegal possession that will curb it.”
Facts About Crime in the United States
Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.
The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.
“From 1993 to 2017, the rate of violent victimization declined 74 percent, from 79.8 to 20.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older,” the U.S. Department of Justice stated.
Both studies are based on data up to and including 2017, the most recent year for which complete figures are available.
The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.
While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend.
Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.
The property crime rate fell by 50 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI, and by 69 percent according to BJS.
According to the FBI’s preliminary figures for the first half of 2018, property crime rates in the United States dropped by 7.2 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.
As with violent crime, the FBI survey only takes into account crime reported to the police, while the BJS figures include reported and nonreported crime.
Public Perception About Crime
Despite falling long-term trends in both violent crime and property crime, opinion surveys repeatedly show Americans believe that crime is up.
The vast majority of Gallup polls taken since 1993 show that over 60 percent of Americans believe there is more crime in the United States on a national scale compared to the previous year.
Pew Research Surveys show similar findings. A survey in late 2016 revealed that 57 percent of registered voters said crime in the nation as a whole increased since 2008, despite both FBI and BJS data showing double-digit drops in violent and property crimes.
Perceptions differed on a national versus local level.
Surveys of perceptions of crime levels on a local scale showed that fewer than 50 percent of respondents in every single Gallup survey done since 1996 believed that crime in their area had risen compared to the previous year.